Paul took the opportunity to complete the Tea Champion programme via a series of webinars held by the UK Tea Academy during the Covid-19 shutdown.
PAUL RAVEN - TEA TRADERS, CARMARTHEN, SOUTH WALES
Paul Raven runs Tea Traders, a specialist tea business, in the old market town of Carmarthen, South Wales with his partner Nick Lee. They sell tea online, and run a contemporary tea shop that provides work opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities. Paul is passionate about helping customers enjoy the huge variety of teas available, and is a big fan of roasted Oolong teas, especially Oriental Beauty.
“We stock around 100 carefully selected teas, including our very popular own-blend ‘Welsh Breakfast’ tea. Our range also includes three delicious, finely crafted, and surprisingly complex Black, Green, and Oolong teas that have been grown and processed at the Peterston Tea Estate in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. This year marks the first commercial production from the Estate after five years of dedication & hard graft and supplies are still very limited. We are excited to be one of just a few specialist tea businesses to stock their range of Welsh grown tea at present”.
As a child Paul grew up drinking traditional ‘British’ tea: Strong black leaf tea served with milk and two sugars. His entry point into wider tea culture arose as a consequence of studying Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, during his previous career as a florist and floristry teacher.
Ikebana has long been regarded as an essential element of room decoration for the Japanese, and an important aspect of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Over the last 30 years Paul’s combined interest and enjoyment of flowers, nature, and tea has evolved. Leading to the launch of their tea business in 2017.
Paul took the opportunity to complete the Tea Champion programme via a series of webinars held by the UK Tea Academy during the Covid-19 shutdown: “Even though I felt that I had a good understanding of tea from my own knowledge and research, and from running our business, the shutdown has been very isolating. The Tea Champion programme has provided me with the opportunity to connect with other tea enthusiasts, and to put my understanding of tea production and tea culture to the test.”
“I’m normally a ‘face-to-face’ type of person, so I was initially a little unsure of studying a sensory product such as tea via the webinar format. However, tutor’s Jane & Sam were excellent, so friendly, and so generous with their extensive knowledge. I found each module to be very well organised and informative. It was great to be able to confirm, ask questions, and add to my understanding during each session”.
“A surprising and very welcome bonus of undertaking the Tea Champion programme is that it allowed me to become part of a much wider tea community, and to connect with tea enthusiasts from Japan, Brazil, Norway, USA, Spain, and the UK”.
“Like many food & drink businesses, we are evolving and adapting to the challenges of Covid-19. We enjoy holding regular ‘Tea Brewing & Tasting’ evenings at our shop, but social distancing makes this difficult at present. However, inspired by the success of the UK Tea Academy webinars I have been using video and webinars as a way to stay connected with my own customers for example by holding regular ‘Tea Brewing & Tasting’ sessions online."
"As soon as the current restrictions are lifted I’m looking forward to continuing my tea journey by visiting the UK Tea Academy in London and undertaking their Tea Sommelier course."
UKTA student Maria Parizio now has her own Tea Experience and consultancy business, and a newly-opened Tea Room in Brazil.
MARIA EMÍLIA FERRARI PARIZIO - THE TEA EXPERIENCE, BRAZIL
UKTA student Maria Emília Ferrari Parizio now has her own Tea Experience and consultancy business, and a newly-opened Tea Room in Brazil.
Maria says: "My passion for tea started when I lived in London in the 1990s. At that time, I had gone to the UK in order to improve my English because I wanted to take all the Cambridge Exams and become an English Teacher, which I did.
Of course, I never imagined that in the future I would decide to study and enter into this beautiful, enchanting, one-way universe of Tea.
As I consider England the country of my heart, I thought that I would be able to find highly skilled people there and, with all my respect to all Tea Masters around the world, I found Jane Pettigrew and her team at the UK Tea Academy. I studied with UKTA in 2017, when I first did my Tea Champion Course, and then in 2018, I went back to take the Tea Sommelier course.
I decided to open a Tea business, which I named The Tea Experience and, at the beginning, I thought I could offer my services by going to peoples' houses and sharing a little of everything I had learned to help others understand more about tea culture, and the correct way to brew tea - with the proper water, the most suitable temperature, etc…
So, in May 2018 I held my first The Tea Experience event. It was an unforgettable day in so many ways! I learned so much that day - about organizing, about arranging everything beforehand, and about the fact that it isn’t easy. But when it was over, seeing everyone so happy, enjoying networking and understanding how Tea touches our lives, I fell in love with my new business. Since then, my husband and my Mum have supported me and encouraged me to go forward.
So in 2019 I opened a Tea Room, where, every month, we hold Tea Experiences that are helping me to grow this beautiful Tea World, gaining more and more people who have also begun to love it. Since I started the company, I have held Tea Experiences in people’s homes, in jewellery shops, clothing shops, at events related to Luxury Cruises (Regent Seven Seas), at Christmas celebrations, at kids’ parties, at birthdays, weddings, and at a well-known Architecture exhibition in Brazil called Casa Cor. At all these Tea events I serve tea and other tea-based drinks without alcohol (I decided in my business not to mix alcohol and tea), and they have all been really successful!
This year I will celebrate 2 years of working with The Tea Experience. Also this year, I have been invited to act as consultant to two tea houses here in Belo Horizonte and I hope to fulfil their expectations and also to honour the name of my school, The UK Tea Academy, to which I am very grateful."
We wish Maria the best of luck with her Tea business. You can follow her on Instagram HERE.
Phyu Thwe, UKTA qualified Tea Sommelier, has developed her family's tea farm in Myanmar, with help from UKTA tutor Beverly Wainwright.
PHYU THWE - MOGOK TEA, MYANMAR
UK Tea Academy student Phyu Thwe grows tea in her home village in Myanmar where her family have 100 acres of old wild tea plants and 80 acres of newly planted bushes.
During her time at the UK Tea Academy she was introduced to Beverly Wainwright, UKTA Authorised Tutor who runs courses at The Scottish Tea Factory, and specialises in community tea projects. Together they have worked towards making fine tea, which is now sold under the name ‘Mogok Tea’ and which some of you had the pleasure of tasting at one of our first Academy Extra events in July 2019.
Phyu says: "In 2019, we made more than 200 kilos of tea and we are planning to double our production in 2020. After doing some research in Myanmar, we are the only speciality tea company in the whole country as many people make tea but in large quantities for cheap export. Our tea making processes are very ecological. Beverly has put system in place to ensure we use the energy as little as possible. She also updated our processing methods to adapt to the weather.
We formed a partnership with Bellabarista and they are our sole distributor in the UK and available to buy online. Our teas will also be sold in America through Rakasan tea. Another company also will be selling our teas at their wellness centre. It is the beginning of my dream journey, we achieved so much in a short period of time compared to many others however it isn’t an easy journey for us all.
This journey all began at The UK Tea Academy. After learning and attaining knowledge from Jane during my Tea Champion and Sommelier training, my introduction to Beverly was the beginning. We have received tremendous support and help from UK Tea Academy throughout the process. Jane has pointed me the right direction and put me in touch with the right people and this made all these achievements possible.
The UK Tea Academy isn’t just a place to study, it is one big family where you can connect and grow in the tea world. The support from Jane and her team makes our journey so much smoother and more attainable."
Christine Bracht, UK Tea Academy qualified Tea Sommelier, opened her beautiful new tea room in Bogota, Colombia, on 1st October.
THE ROSE TEAROOM, BOGOTA
Christine Bracht, UK Tea Academy qualified Tea Sommelier, opened her beautiful new tea room in Bogota, Colombia, on 1st October. The Rose is in a stunning Tudor house, located in the heart of the English neighbourhood of Bogota, a city in which a tearoom of this type is an entirely new experience.
After studying for her UKTA Tea Sommelier certification, Christine decided that each customer should see the dry leaf, and watch it infuse at their table, to get the full experience of the leaf. She also has plans for afternoon tea tastings to introduce her customers to fine tea.
We wish Christine the best of luck with this wonderful new venture. And to anyone in Bogota - we hope you can visit her. We are so proud to see another impressive tea business opening from a former UKTA student!
Sally Wei, who is a certified UKTA Tea sommelier, will be sharing her tea knowledge and passion at several US Tea Festivals this year.
SALLY WEI AT AMERICAN TEA FESTIVALS
Sally Wei, one of our regular students who is a certified UKTA Tea sommelier and is now working towards her Level 3 Tea Master certification, will be sharing her tea knowledge and passion at several US Tea Festivals this year. She will be the featured speaker at the Midwest Tea Festival, one of the speakers at the Chicago International Tea Festival, talking about Taiwanese tea tasting and Chinese Tea table set up at the Pennsylvania Tea Festival as well as appearing at the Portland Tea Festival, showing exactly where a love of tea can take you.
Sally is an accomplished classical pianist and holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts. As musicians strive for perfection, Sally found equal passions in her enjoyment of tea. In 2006, she broadened this connection through the journey of learning Dharma. Trained in Taiwan and England, Sally embraces these two tea cultures through the philosophy of “Jing Si” (Still Thoughts) in the understanding, preparation and enjoyment of the blessings of Tea.
We congratulate Sally on her upcoming festival appearances and for sharing her love of tea!
In June, Ayda Jabbari, UKTA Tea Champion, opened her beautiful new tea room in London, Denj (which means ‘cosy’ in Farsi).
DENJ: A STYLISH NEW TEA ROOM IN CENTRAL LONDON
A fabulous new tearoom has opened at 67 Mortimer St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7SE.
In June, Ayda Jabbari, UKTA Tea Champion, opened her beautiful new tea room, Denj (which means ‘cosy’ in Farsi), and it has fast become a very popular new venue for really excellent teas and great appetising food. An interior designer by training, Ayda has created a unique ambiance that is streamlined, extremely stylish and contemporary, but also pays affectionate and moving homage to her Iranian heritage. Tiny ceramic pomegranates on tables and mantelshelf symbolise the soul’s immortality and the perfection of nature, while hand-embroidered cushions and art work on the walls bear lovely eye-catching Iranian images.
The teas are carefully selected from the very high quality range offered by Tea Repertoire, Sujin Lee’s loose leaf tea company that is founded on a passion and pursuit for exceptional tea. The tea menu includes hot-brewed teas, iced teas, iced matcha frappes, Indian-style chai, and much much more. Close to Oxford Circus, this is a perfect place for meetings, lunch, quiet moments alone or with fellow tea-lovers.